Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball. What a name. Not only is it incredibly eye catching, it’s also a (more or less) complete description of what you’ll be getting with this game. Robots? Check. Roller-Derby? There is some. Disco? Check, check plus, in fact. Dodgeball? Yup. This game is basically Tron except instead of light cycles and floor-breaking throw-y discs, you have mustachioed robots wearing sunglasses and vampire fangs.

Gameplay

At its core, Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball is an FPS. If you don’t like the FPS genre, then there’s not a whole lot this game is going to offer you. That being said, if you aren’t entirely against FPS games, this game comes with my recommendation. Everyone plays as a small robot about the size and shape of a rectangular waste bin that has the ability to pick things up, despite a distinct lack of arms, and whose only mode of transportation is a single wheel affixed to their butts.

Did you think I was kidding about the mustache?

Did you think I was kidding about the mustache?

The fact that you have a wheel instead of feet make a huge difference. This isn’t the sort of “run from cover to cover” or “crouch behind chest high walls” first person shooter. Oh no. This is the sort of “launch off a ramp with the speed of a cocaine driven stallion so you can fly across the stage, raining death from above” sort of shooter. And I should clarify, that is a single death rained from above. Because it’s dodgeball, and you can only hold one ball at a time.

This was a bit of an adjustment for me, as my usual modus operandi is more akin to the spray and pray method. I had to plan my shots carefully, especially when there weren’t any other balls lying around within arms uh… invisible robot tractor beam’s reach. Each shot can be charged up by holding down the fire button. The more a shot is charged the further and faster it will go, which makes it harder for enemies to catch the ball. That’s right, it’s just like dodgeball in real life. If you catch the ball (accomplished by clicking at the right time and facing in juuuuuuuust the right direction and angle), the thrower is out/destroyed and you now have a new weapon.

The game consists of a number of different kinds of matches. There’s the traditional team death match where each side is trying to get to some number of kills before their enemies do. There are also game modes such as capture the flag cube and team elimination (similar to death match, but everyone only gets one life). And then there are some modes that are a bit more out of the ordinary. Game modes where you have to throw a golden ball (of which there is only one) through a hoop in order to score a point for you team or a spin off of death match where the object is to score a certain number of points (you get more points for fancier kills) before the other team.

It is in these game modes that I think the game really stands out. Particularly the Golden Ball matches. It makes you think more about how you want to approach the situation, and maybe try something that you otherwise wouldn’t have to get that kill. Like bouncing the ball off the wall next to/behind your target before it hits them. Getting a kill that way (Riiiichochet) gets you points equal to at least three or four normal kills. It encourages trying things outside of the “line up the shot and fire away”, which lead to finding out that there is a specific name for being mid-air and hitting someone else who is also mid-air (it’s called Top Gun, and it gets you a shit load of points).

Outside of this particular game mode, the “points” you score for different kills also contribute to your over all level. As far as I’ve been able to determine, gaining more levels simply unlocks different (and more hilarious) customization options for your robot’s face.

The only frustrating parts of the game that I’ve found are the AI and the dodgeballs update rate. The AI isn’t really buggy, it’s just sort of dumb (in the way that most AI tends to be). They will try to catch balls (because you can pass them from team mate to team mate) that are headed straight for an enemy and generally sort of get in the way. The other issue happens when I drive over/up to a dodgeball only to have it disappear because someone picked it up 20-30 seconds ago. It isn’t a common problem, but it does happen enough to be mildly frustrating. But, the game is still in relatively early access, so I expect that issues like these will be ironed out as time passes and more updates are made.

Graphics

Robot_Stage2

Despite the amount “going on”, so to speak, it’s always easy to pick out who is a friend, foe, and find the dodgeballs.

If you like glowing neon, this game is an absolute delight to look at. Every level looks like something you might find in a tron inspired cyberpunk dance club. Just about every surface is capable of glowing a number of different ambient/neon colors depending on the song/game mode.

Other than the pretty colors, the graphics are fairly simplistic. It won’t make your computer huff and puff like trying to play the newest Crysis game on ultra max settings. This is, in no way, a bad thing. The game knows what it’s trying to do and does it very well. It’s got a certain charm that really makes it stand out as its own game (which tends to happen when you combine bright lights, robots, mustaches, and sunglasses). There’s something about the aforementioned “charm” of this game that seems to diffuse tensions that normally run high in first person shooters. I find it very hard to get/stay upset with someone for hitting me before I could throw my ball when they are portrayed as a bright yellow wheel-box wearing mutton chops and big, goofy sunglasses.

Music

Disco and EDM did the fusion dance and showed up to party hard as a bunch of robots hilariously battle to the death having to sit out for a few minutes. I’ve never noticed just how much of an impact music could have on a game until this one. Most of the songs are quick tempo electronic sounding songs that add to the fast paced, almost frantic, nature of the game as you scoot around hunting for ammo/targets. When you’re doing well, it feels like the music is being played for you specifically. And when you’re the underdog, it helps dissuade the feeling of frustration/helplessness that sometimes accompanies being significantly behind.

All in all, Robot Roller-Derby Disco Dodgeball is a delightful game. If you don’t like first person shooters, electronic dance music, or lots of neon colors then it might not be the game for you. But otherwise, I would highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a casual (or maybe a little more intense if you can get a team organized) FPS game. The game is developed by a single guy named Erik Asmussen and can be purchased on Steam for $14.99, which is pretty standard for the wide majority of indy games these days. I think it’s well worth the price.

Overall Score
95 %

FPS with no story but lots of pretty colors and very fun game modes to hurl dodgeballs at your foes in. This game has been one of the most enjoyable games I've played in a while.

Story 50%
Graphics 90%
Fun 100%
Replayability 100%

About The Author

Things I love: Video games, comics, steampunk, space
Things I like: Cyberpunk, hard cider, not being in the sun, pokemon
Things I dislike: The sun

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